41. New Zealand The Bone People, by Keri Hulme (1983). With char
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41. New ZealandThe Bone People, by Keri Hulme (1983). With characters Hulme pulls from real-life experiences and a dream she had when she was 18, this novel takes readers deep into the heart of New Zealand, a nation still plagued by colonialism. Hulme weaves Maori heritage and history into this gripping tale of love, death, and redemption.
42. SavannahMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt (1994). While this best-selling page-turner reads like a potboiler mystery, it is a true account of a murder in Savannah in the early 1980s. From blue-blood society ladies and drawling southern belles to voodoo priestesses and the memorable Lady Chablis, the characters are as evocative of Savannah as the Spanish moss that drapes the city's trees.
43. WashingtonSnow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson (1994). Centered around the murder trial of a Japanese fisherman on a small island in Puget Sound, Guterson's debut novel deals with lingering bitterness and racism in the aftermath of World War II. Forests of stately cedars shrouded in mist serve as the haunting backdrop for this page-turning mystery that travels back in time to reveal the truth about war and loss.
44. Middle EastBaghdad Without a Map, by Tony Horwitz (1991). Horwitz spent the late 1980s as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. His adventures, told with humor and empathy, ranged from chewing the hallucinogenic qat in Yemen to covering an anti-American rally in Tehran. Despite friendships with locals and invitations to their homes, he admits that the Middle East remained a tantalizing mystery to him.
45. PortugalBaltasar and Blimunda, by Jose Saramago (1987). The Inquisition, empire-building, aviation exploration—Saramago's Portugal of the 18th century is an epic canvas for big ideas. But at the heart of this rich novel is a transcendent love story between a soldier and a clairvoyant. Saramago masterfully combines actual historical figures and events with magical fiction.
46. ChinaIron and Silk, by Mark Salzman (1986). American martial arts expert Salzman spent his days teaching English in Changsha, China, but devoted his mind to the study of contemporary Chinese society. His unpretentious and probing manner paves the way for genuine friendships with local Chinese.
47. ChileThe House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende (1985). The epic story of the Trueba family begins at the turn of the last century. Although this magical-realist novel is set in an unspecified country in South America, the political events are similar to those of the author's native Chile. This bestseller, Allende's first book, offers a mix of reality and fantasy.
48. HondurasThe Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux (1982). A disgruntled American intellectual, Allie Fox packs up his suburban family and travels to Honduras by ship, hoping to rid himself of the trappings of modern life. On the coast at La Ceiba, he buys a remote property and begins anew, but soon discovers that much is beyond his control in the wild jungle. Fox's son, Charlie, the 14-year-old narrator, adapts by building shelters and learning about the area's lush plants, yet Allie remains unsatisfied as his dream of finding peace seems forever out of reach. Mosquito Coast was also a 1986 film starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and River Phoenix.
49. DublinThe Van, by Roddy Doyle (1992). Two things are big in today's Ireland: football (soccer) and fried foods. The Booker Prize-nominated novel deals with both in a laugh-out-loud story of an unemployed dad and his friend who team up to operate a fish-and-chips van in a working-class North Dublin suburb during the heady days of Ireland's participation in the 1990 World Cup.
50. U.S.Blue Highways: A Journey into America, by William Least Heat-Moon (1982). After losing his job, the author embarks on a 13,000-mile (20,920-kilometer) trip down America's back roads, into forgotten nooks and crannies from the South to the Pacific Northwest. The characters he meets make the journey come alive. As Robert Penn Warren said of Least Heat-Moon: "He has a genius for finding people who have not even found themselves."
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